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Darren Greeff
Lauryn Summerley
Chlo Grov
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Dance International
Written by: DanceDirectory

1. Name, Surname, Age, Current Location.
Darren Greeff, 21, Cape Town

2. What did you learn from the other dancers & choreographers during your time in Season 1 of SYTYCD?
It was my first event I did after graduating college, so I was a sponge just taking in all sorts of knowledge. From the choreographers, they encouraged me everyday to learn that I could do anything I put my mind to. The different styles I performed, were styles of dance I thought I would never do in my life and never be able to do. Pantsula, Gumboot etc, are things that just never crossed my mind. I always used to watch other forms of dance and appreciate it, but never thought I would be able to do it. From the dancers, I learnt alot about the industry. As I said, I had just graduated from college and they had all had a lot of experience, so they gave me alot of advice on what to do and where to go to once i had completed the competition.

3. Apart from learning new dance forms, what life lessons did you learn?
Patience, determination and definitely self belief!

4. For you personally, how did your dancing skills develop?
It broadened my skills with new styles of dance. As a dancer, you have to be extremely versatile to be successful. When training, you only really major in certain styles. I majored in tap, modern and classical ballet which is a great foundation for any form of dance. I have now kept up with those styles and try and get into a class now and then when my schedule allows it.

5. How did you cope physically & mentally during a competition of this size and format?
It was massive! At some points I just didn't know how I did it. When I eventually got home and watched the top 6 episode, I just couldn't believe I'd been there a week prior. It felt like I was in a dream. I had incredible support from my family in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and spent my day off with them every week as they gave me such great morale support. Physically, a lot of massages were in order! What we put our bodies through was incredible! I think I'm still suffering! :-)

6. How do you feel just before you go on stage, either during a performance or a competition?
It is different every time you go on stage. Just before the first episode of SYTYCD, the theme song started playing and I just couldn't control myself from crying. It was such an insane feeling. I actually can't describe it. But yeah, depending on what show you doing or how often you've done it, the feelings are different. Either really chilled as you've done the show 100 times already, or really nervous before an opening night when all the important people are in the audience that you need to impress!

7. What is your message to youngsters who are serious about dancing?
Dance is an incredible job. But, it takes insane amounts of hard work, determination, humbleness and you need a back bone of steel! It is one of the toughest jobs in the world!

8. What is your message to parents of dancing kids?
Let your child follow their dreams. Yes, we all know it's an unstable form of income and not well supported etc, but if it makes them happy and they are determined, stand by them every step of the way and get ready to catch them when they fall. My parents have done it for me and I cannot be more grateful.

9. In todays world people expect instant results. Even though some dancers have only had a few years training and are very successful, is it possible to experience overnight success as a dancer?
No no no! I think I've already mentioned about 12 times that it is insane hard work. This is why as a dancer, your patience has to be incredible. You need to put the hours of hard work in to be the best. The industry is tough. There are so many people going for the same job, that you need to impress. You have to be a certain look, have a certain quality, be a certain size etc. This is why a backbone of steel is required as you will not always do the jobs you want to. Whether you're not cast or there are just no jobs available.

10. How many hours do your normally practice per day / week?
Depends on what I'm doing. When rehearsing for a professional show, we rehearse 8 hours a day, 6 days a week. Then you hit technical week, a week before the show, where you can work from 10 in the morning until 2 the next morning. It is crazy! When I choreograph and teach, my hours are 9am to about 10pm.

11. How do you feel about a dress code for dance class? For example: If you were to go horse riding, you would need to wear specific clothing and protective wear, created especially for horse riding. Is it beneficial for dancers and teachers if students dress neatly for dance class?
Having the appropriate dress code for dance is having respect for your art. I am a qualified teacher as well, and it upsets me when students walk into class with hair in their faces, sloppy pants etc. Dance is discipline and respect and dress code falls under that category.

12. When & Where did you start dancing?
I started dancing at the age of 10 in Somerset West at Outline dance studio after sitting in front of a TV watching Michael Jackson video's. I also always used to run around the house and bang my feet in my school shoes thinking I was making beautiful tap sounds. My family didn't feel the same! :-) My mom then took me to one class and I was hooked from that very second.

13. How did it happen that you actually started dance lessons?
My play school teacher called my mom to say that the dance studio was offering a free class, so she took me for a lesson. I was in heaven and when the 45 minutes was over, I knew that this was going to be my life.

14. What does your dance future look like... / Are you currently busy with dance or performing arts productions.
I have been very blessed, working many jobs including 2 ballet companies and 2 world known musicals. I have choreographed for music video's, danced for TV ads, choreographed shows and taught alot in dance studio's around Cape Town and I have been teaching outreach programs. I am currently on a world tour with Grease the musical. I am also choreographing a show for Grandwest Casino next year which I am very excited about.


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